GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Like the Premier League without Liverpool or La Liga without Real Madrid, Colombia's top division will be without one of its biggest clubs as América de Cali lost Saturday's relegation playoff on penalties against minnows Patriotas de Tunja.
The score finished 1-1 and 4-3 after penalties, with US goalkeeper Diego Restrepo playing the full game for América. New York-born goalkeeper Kevin Piedrahita was on the bench.
América have won the Colombian league 13 times and reached the final of the Copa Libertadores on four occasions, but they’ll go down to the second tier of Colombian soccer for the first time in their 84-year history.
The result puts Restrepo's future at the club further in doubt, with the player recently telling Goal.com that his contract at América is about to come to an end and that there is interest from MLS clubs like the Philadelphia Union and Chivas USA, as well as from other Colombian clubs.
Further north in Mexico, Puebla's DaMarcus Beasley got on the scoresheet in his team's 5-3 victory over Cruz Azul Hidalgo in a preseason friendly on Saturday. Beasley played 70 minutes of the game in preparation for the Clausura 2012 season beginning on Jan. 6.
Orange, Calif., native Michael Orozco Fiscal has also been busy in the preseason for San Luis, starting Saturday's 0-0 tie with Club América.
Club Tijuana's Edgar Castillo got his first taste of life in the first team with the Xolos on Wednesday, during the club's 5-0 victory against Ventura County of the United Soccer Leagues in Oxnard, Calif.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. He can be reached via email@example.com.